Bittersweet memories

Graduation marks the end of a school year — and the end of a school career — for the Class of 2011 (photo by Phyllis McCabe)

The lazy days of summer are upon us, and while barbecues and cool dips in a swimming pool might be first and foremost on some of our minds, but the members of the Kingston High Class of 2011 feel that they are at a crossroads. Whether they’re off to college or already on a career path, this summer will be like no other for the fresh high-school graduates.

An informal poll of this year’s crop of seniors showed responses predictably and sometimes literally all over the map. For some, work beckons, whether a last few months at a prior job before heading off to college, a summer gig in the hot sun, or an apprenticeship with a clear path toward a future career. For others, travel is on the cards, both within the area and well beyond.


Chelsea Gillette is heading to Ithaca College this fall, the same school where her parents went. This summer, she plans on visiting family in Cape Cod for the month of July. “I’ve been going to Cape Cod since I was too little to remember,” she said. “It’s just a tradition that I can’t let go of.”

Gillette is hopeful that she’ll connect with friends over the summer. “Hopefully some of my closest friends will be making road trips to visit me on the Cape,” she said. “Other than that, I’m sure we’ll have a few day trips to fun summer spots.”

Danielle DeLisio, spending time with friends and family, is hoping to take a few short trips to places like the Jersey Shore. She’s also going to focus some of her energy on staying in a lacrosse frame of mind, as she was recruited to play the game for Siena College, an NCAA Division I school. “I have been working out and playing lacrosse getting ready for the fall,” she said.

Jillian Brooks, who received a scholarship to run cross-country and track forFordhamUniversity, is another athlete. What else she’ll be doing when she hits college is still somewhat hazy. “I am undecided as to what I plan to study,” Brooks said. “I basically change my mind every other day. My first aspiration was to study history, then I was considering environmental science, and sometimes I want to be a journalist. I truly have no idea what I want to do with my life.”

Her summer is much easier to picture. “This summer I landed a job as a lifeguard at Mohonk Mountain House,” Brooks said. “My father used to work at this resort, so that pushed me to apply for the position.”

She’ll also be spending much of her summer preparing for life as a college athlete. “Running in college is extremely exciting, but I’m also really nervous about competing at such a high level,” Brooks said. “I just received my summer training schedule from my coach, and I am in for one ginormous challenge.”

Brooks is keeping busy with work this summer, but is already planning a trip with friends for a year from now. “My friends and I have been planning a cross-country road trip for next summer,” she said. “It might sound crazy, but we plan to rent a giant RV and tour across the country together, visiting famous landmarks and reuniting after our first year of college.”

Bianca Covello’s summer plans include lifeguarding at the Zena Recreation Tennis and Swim Club, where she also will compete on the swim team. “I’ve been on the Zena swim team for eight years, and this will be my last year on the team,” she said. “I love lifeguarding at Zena because I get to work with a lot of my close friends, and it’s a good job.”

Rachel Longendyke, with a likely focus on biology, is heading to SUNY Binghamton in the fall. She’s hoping to recharge her batteries and bank account this summer with a schedule that’s worked well for her during past summers off from school. “I’m going to be babysitting three to four days a week, as far as working goes,” she said. “Other than that, I’m just going to have fun with my friends and enjoy my last summer before college. I chose to do this for the summer because I wanted to work to earn money, but also have time to relax. This arrangement has been great for the past few years that I’ve done it.”

Lifeguarding appears to be a popular summer vocation among KHS grads. It’s how Terisa Woyich will be earning some money before beginning her studies in molecular biology at SUNY New Paltz. She’ll work as a lifeguard at the YMCA and has a job at Wiltwyck Golf Club as well. “It’s a good mix of socializing as well as saving up for expenses needed for college,” she said.

Her summer travel plans have already begun. “I actually just got home from a road trip to the Jersey shore with my best friends,” she said, “but I’m hoping to travel toCanadato experience a vacation outside of the U.S. as well as more trips to the city and beach.”

Road trips with friends are a common theme among Kingston graduates. Taylor Thompson is hoping to journey to Cape Cod and New Jersey with friends this summer on breaks from working an uncle’s farm stand, R.O. Davenport and Sons. “I chose to work this summer because I need spending cash for college, and I really do enjoy the job itself,” explained Thompson, who will study communications at Cornell University this fall.

Alison Bickrt wants to unwind via road trips with friends before college begins. She’ll major in zoology at SUNY Oswego, and will prepare for school by volunteering with the SPCA. “I love animals and have always wanted to volunteer there and spend as much time as I can with the animals,” she said.

With a visit to the beach at theJerseyShore, Cameron Farr has already begun what he hopes will be many trips with friends. Before heading off to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fall, Farr is hoping to balance his summer with a mix of his life in high school and his future in college.

“I believe that it is important to spend this time with my friends, as once I leave for college I will be spending less time with them and making new friends,” he said. “This summer I’ll be spending my time with my friends and family, as well as attending a number of college-based activities. The college activities act as a bridge between the experience I will be starting and the one that is just ending.”


Summer at the end of senior year is for some the end of daily interaction with friends made as far back as kindergarten. Even those graduates excited about what the future holds are decidedly mixed in their feelings about leaving high school behind.

“Will I miss school?” asked Woyich. “Absolutely not.”

Bickert agreed. “I will not miss school one bit,”  Bickert said. “But I will miss the people that I used to see every day.”

Farr expressed a similar sentiment. “Honestly, I will miss the people that I know and meet at school more than anything else,” he said.

Some graduates said they didn’t expect to miss school, but now that it’s over it’s a different story. “I will surprisingly miss school this summer,” said Brooks. “Well, not all the work and obligations, but I can say that I will really miss the people that I got to see every day, students and teachers. The people atKingstonHigh Schoolare not your average group of kids, so I will definitely miss them when I go away to school.”

Covello agreed. “I’ve never missed school over the summer,” she said. “I’ve always waited for summer to come. But this year is different. Now that high school is over for good, I can’t help being sad about it. It went by way too fast, and I miss it already.”